Czech press survey - July 15

Bývalý ministr zahraničních věcí Karel Schwarzenberg.

published: 15.07.2013, 07:24 | updated: 15.07.2013 07:49:55

Prague - Czech TOP 09 head Karel Schwarzenberg´s recent comparison of President Milos Zeman to Czechoslovak communists in 1948 and German Nazis in 1933 was silly, overdone and harmful to Prague´s reputation in Europe, Petr Honzejk writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN) today.

It is true that Zeman approaches the constitution in a very "creative" way. He has appointed a cabinet of his own irrespective of the situation in parliament, which deserves tough criticism, Honzejk writes.

However, this is no end of democracy. The Chamber of Deputies may simply say "no" to Zeman by not letting his cabinet survive a confidence vote, Honzejk adds.

Zeman has not breached the constitution for the time being. Drawing parallels between him and criminals and mass murderers is awkward and it mirrors his opponent´s weakness, Honzejk continues.

If you compare someone to Hitler or [Czechoslovak communist leader Klement] Gottwald, the debate cannot but end. It means you have run out of arguments or you do not want to continue the debate, Honzejk says.

It would be easy for Schwarzenberg to find lots of arguments against Zeman. His latest words therefore show that he does not want to debate with Zeman any more. Let´s remind him of the fact that a debate is the basis of democratic politics. He who stops debating also ceases to be a politician, Honzejk concludes.

Let´s defend the constitution but let´s not use the [German] 1933 events as an argument, Zbynek Petracek writes in Lidove noviny (LN) in reaction to the controversial statements of Schwarzenberg, who was foreign minister in the Czech rightist cabinet that recently collapsed and was replaced by a caretaker one, initiated by President Milos Zeman.

Schwarzenberg´s era in politics is clearly coming to an end. He has remained a "pillar of moderateness" in the era of widespread strong, big-mouthed and unreliable utterances of politicians and the media, Petracek writes.

People mind politicians easily drawing parallels between Czech developments and the Nazi scene in the 1930s, he continues.

He recalls the label "Night of the Long Knives" the then Civic Democrat (ODS) head and future PM Mirek Topolanek used to describe his planned personnel steps in 2005, and "Hitler´s way of solving the crisis" which the then Social Democrat (CSSD) MP David Rath recommended as an example to follow in 2009.

Most recently, opposition Public Affairs (VV) MP Michal Babak said "no Jew [by which he meant the new finance minister Jan Fischer] can be worse for the state coffers than [his predecessor Miroslav] Kalousek," Petracek recalls.

Up to now, Schwarzenberg has been a "watchdog" criticising similar verbal excesses. By his latest statement, he has made the same excess himself, Petracek says.

Although Zeman is seeking a corporatist state, the situation in the Czech Republic is different from Germany in 1933 where the Nazis twisted the parliament´s order of procedure to pass the Enabling Act that entrusted all legislative power to Hitler´s cabinet, Petracek points out.

Former prime minister Petr Necas (ODS) returned very angered from Friday´s police questioning linked to the corruption and illegal surveillance scandal of his former close aide Jana Nagyova, Jiri Hanak writes in Pravo, recalling that Necas labelled the case "a political trial" and said the stay in custody may damage the suspects´ health.

Seven suspects, including Nagyova, have been in custody since mid-June.

"I don´t remember Necas ever uttering a single word about the more-than-a-year-long custody stay of David Rath," a deputy and former Social Democrat regional governor suspected of corruption, Hanak writes.

Necas has probably ignored Rath´s long stay in custody because Rath is "a mere socialist," he says.

By the way, Necas´s comments on the Nagyova case are as irrelevant as Karel Schwarzenberg´s comments on President Milos Zeman. Does Necas know at all what [communist] political trials rested in? Hanak asks.


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